Brisbane: Australia all-rounder Andrew Symonds will likely escape any sanction for pummeling a streaker with a shoulder charge during a limited-overs international against India.
The streaker was not so lucky. Not only was he flattened by Symonds on the pitch, he was fined 1,500 Australian dollars (US$1,390) when he faced court Wednesday, the following morning, on charges of wilfull exposure and interfering with a sports event.
Robert Ogilvie, 26, pleaded guilty, saying he was dared to run on the field naked by his friends and it felt “great” to be crunched by Symonds.
Replays of the rugby-style shoulder charge were shown repeatedly on Australian TV on Wednesday, featured on Youtube, and pictures appeared on newspaper pages and websites.
The Sydney Morning Herald headline encapsulated the situation: ''Runaway nude ends up on hard shoulder.''
Ogilvie said he had no plans of bringing action for assault against Symonds and Queensland state police said they would not be further investigating the incident.
Symonds faced the prospect of a lengthy ban if the International Cricket Council decided he had breached section 4.2 of the players' code of conduct relating to physical assault on a player, official or spectator.
But Cricket Australia said Symonds had no case to answer and the ICC indicated there would be no charge.
Australia fast bowler Stuart Clark defended Symonds in a television interview.
''It looked like the guy was running at him, and Andrew to some extent tried to protect himself,'' Clark said. ''We are trying to win a game for Australia and someone comes running on the field because he's probably had too much to drink.
''It's hard for us because we are so focused on trying to win this game and it's a real break in our momentum.''
Symonds stood his ground and leaned into the streaker and checked him when Australia was 34-3 in reply to India's 258-9 and needing a win to keep the best-of-three limited-overs finals series alive.
Symonds, a muscular allrounder who once trained with Australian National Rugby League powerhouse club the Brisbane Broncos and considered a rugby career, did not seem distracted by his brush with the pitch invader.
He scored 42 and put in an 89-run partnership with Matthew Hayden (55), but it wasn't enough to force a win, with Australia eventually losing by nine runs.
Australian players have been routinely instructed by team officials never to make contact with spectators on the field ever since Terry Alderman injured his shoulder in a similar incident in the 1982-83 Ashes series and missed 18 months of cricket.
Greg Chappell, a former Australian captain, escaped a fine for hitting a streaker on the buttocks with a bat during a match in Auckland, New Zealand in 1976.